Board to 'take account' of Facebook exam protest

More than 3,000 A-level students have signed up for an unprecedented Facebook campaign to protest about their biology exam.

They claimed the paper set by the AQA exam board failed to test what they learnt as part of their syllabus.

Hundreds have posted comments, calling the paper a “disgrace” and “ridiculous” and asking to be able to sit another paper as a retake.

Tonight the exam board made a concession to the protesters by issuing a statement that they would “take account” of them in marking the papers.

In messages sent following the launch of the Facebook campaign, students – who sat the exam yesterday – claimed only the last three of eight questions asked were relevant to what they had studied in the classroom.

One, James Finnerly, from Christleton High School in Chester, said: “I would like six months of my life back please.

“I thought the point of exams was to give an indication of how much a candidate knew about specified topics and the detailed processes within them.

“It seems I am wrong, though, as the paper I just took only tested my ability to bullshit about statistics and my knowledge about obscure and pointless experiments involving shrews.”

Tom Footitt, an 18-year-old pupil from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire – who launched the protest, said he had been “surprised” by the amount of support his campaign had generated. “I didn’t expect that,” he said.

He said AQA’s response “sounded like a bit of a confession” but he believed that the board should still go further and allow students a free resit of the exam.

A third student, Harriet Walter, told The Independent, that the specification for the exam specifically stated that students would not be required to know about tests of significance - such as the Spearman rank correlation – yet there was a question on the topic.

“I don’t think AQA are taking into account just how seriously this exam can affect our university offers, especially for highly academic courses such as medicine,” she added.

“I know people who actually checked the front page of the paper just to check it was the correct paper half way through the exam.”

Another student added: “Apart from the last three questions, the paper had fuck all to do with anything we had learnt from the last six months and I’m pissed off.”

Another post added: “The exam was a huge joke. Where the hell were genetics, respiration and photosynthesis?”

However, not all those who visited the campaign site were upset with the content of the questions.

One student wrote: “Science does not have a definitive answer and AQA are right to do what they have done.

“If you are worried about going to university now, due to struggling with the named paper, perhaps you are not good enough for university where exam papers do test you.”

Exam board officials said the protest was the first of its kind on such a scale that they could recall.

The protest concerned one unit of a new syllabus for A-level biology, sat by nearly 20,000 students, concerning populations and the environment.

“In the first year(s) of a new specification, candidates are often uncertain about what will be required of them in examinations,” the AQA said in a statement.

It said the new exam focussed more on the application of science following criticism that previous papers had failed to stretch pupils’ scientific knowledge enough.

“We are aware of concern amongst some candidates for this examination that the exam has not allowed them to fully demonstrate their understanding and abilities,” it added.

“We will take account of these concerns when marking the examinations. the concerns will also be considered at the awarding meeting where we make final decisions regarding the award of grades.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Recruitment Genius: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas